Polk Co. District Attorney's Office using cameras to combat family violence

Polk Co. District Attorney's Office using cameras to combat family violence
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff

Polk County is putting a major investment into combating family violence. The Polk County District Attorney's office has bought $16,000 dollars worth of equipment to end the cycle of abuse.

It's a call that Polk County authorities receive far too many of. There have been over 250 domestic and family violence incidents a year and around 160 protective orders.

"You have a situation where they reconcile with the offender. There may be some period where things are stable and normal in the relationship. Then a month or year down the road, you have another episode of family violence," said Lee Hon, Polk County's district attorney.

It's a repetitive cycle between loved ones that often ends without resolution.

"You lose the cooperation of family violence victims, or you lose contact with them because they become unsupportive of the prosecution. Maybe they reconcile or are afraid to come to court," Hon said.

The Polk County District Attorney's Office is taking steps to fight the violence with $16,000 worth of hand-held cameras and equipment.

"What we're hoping to gain is a lot of evidence on the front end of the cases for a good outcome," Hon said.

The officers are already equipped with dash cam and body cams. They'll now add hand-held cameras to their units to get video statements and take high quality photos for evidence while on domestic violence calls.

Hon said it's not unusual for authorities to visit the same homes over and over for family violence issues.

"We're going to get our law enforcement officers training in terms of how to use the video cameras. They will be distributed to our municipal police department and sheriff department to be placed in patrol cars," Hon said.

The Texas Council on Family Violence noticed the program's success in Comal and El Paso Counties and encouraged it on a statewide basis.

"It becomes a little more problematic and concerning when you have children involved or exposed because that's what they learn, and it becomes their normal," Hon said.

The cameras will be a step up from verbal and written statements made by victims. Hon said more convictions are not necessarily the goal.

"Whatever we can do to disrupt that cycle, be it separate the parties, get them help, or if counseling is required, whatever it takes to stop the repetition of that violence, that's what we're going to do," Hon said.

Sheriff's deputies and Livingston police officers will be trained on using the hand-held cameras in the near future. The county was awarded 25 of them through a Texas grant.

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